France pharmacies join protests at government reform plan


More than 90 percent of pharmacies in France have shut their doors in protest against a government plan to deregulate some professions and trades.

According to the reports, the controversial “growth plan” was proposed by former economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, in July and it is meant to lower the exorbitant prices of profitable businesses and augment the purchasing power of citizens.

In the capital, Paris, pharmacists held a demonstration outside the Senate on Tuesday calling for the administration of President Francois Hollande to revoke the reform plan.

The proposed plan seeks to shake up the activities of pharmacies and their monopoly in the market.

Some non-prescription medicines, for instance, are to be sold in supermarkets.

Pharmacists want to keep their monopoly on the sales of painkiller medicine by stopping supermarkets from selling the pills.

The government reform plan would reduce the price of services that pharmacists give to customers and decrease the profit of pharmacies by up to 20 percent.

The newly-appointed economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, has delayed implementation of Montebourg’s reform plan until 2015 due to recent protests by unions in France.

Michel Chassang, head of the National Union for Self-Employed Professionals (UNAPL), says the government has “shown no sign of openness and persists in wanting to keep an absurd reform.”

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